Nasdaq gains, Dow falls 179 points, S&P little changed in Russian driven session
The US froze all American assets held by Russia's central bank
U.S. stocks turned in another whipsaw session ending mixed as investors weighed the latest on Russia's invasion of Ukraine against the U.S. expanding sanctions against Russia's central bank by freezing all assets held by Americans.
The Nasdaq Composite closed higher by 0.4% as Apple and Tesla helped drive gains.
The S&P closed marginally lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell over just 179 points, erasing a drop of over 400 points, to close down 0.5%.
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Monday, the ruble has plunged more than 30% after the move to block Russian banks from the SWIFT payments system. The sanctions include restrictions meant to crimp the Russian central bank’s access to over $600 billion in reserves and hinder its ability to support the ruble. In response, the Russian central bank raised its key rate to 20% from 9.5% in a desperate attempt to shore up the plummeting ruble and prevent a run on banks.
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Russian exchange-traded funds were under pressure.
Additionally, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Composite rolled out a temporary trading halt for a handful of Russian companies that trade in the U.S. Per a notice with the NYSE, the listed companies are Mechel PAO, American Depositary Shares – each representing two ordinary shares – and Mobile TeleSystems Public Joint Stock Company and Cian PLC American Depositary Shares, each representing one ordinary share.
At the Nasdaq, stocks included are Yandex, known as Russia's Google, and online retailer Ozon, as well as Nexters and QIWI and Head Hunter Group.
Oil prices surged Monday, with U.S. benchmark crude nearing $95.72 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent Crude closed at $100.99.
And gold climbed above $1,900 before easing back to $1,899.40 an ounce as investors moved to safer assets amid the volatility hitting U.S. equities.
British Petroleum, on Sunday, confirmed it will exit its stake in Russian energy company Rosneft – the latest private severance of relations with Russia as the global superpower invades neighboring Ukraine. BP, which has held a 19.75% stake in Rosneft since 2013, also said its chief executive, Bernard Looney, will resign from the Russian firm's board, effective immediately. Bob Dudley, a former BP executive, will also resign from Rosneft's board.
Late Monday, Shell joined the movement announcing it will exit its joint venture with GazProm, including its support of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
Airlines got slammed on concerns the Russia Ukraine escalation will crimp travel.
Defense stocks moved higher as Germany announced plans to boost military spending to 2% of output.
In earnings news Monday Lordstown Motors, Nielsen, Party City and Tegna before the market open and SmileDirectClub, Workday and Zoom Video Communications after the bell.
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In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin hovered around the $38,000 level before advancing past the $40,000 level as stocks recovered some of their losses.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.